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Introduction to Policy Debate. Welcome to the Dark Side of the Force. Breaking Down the Resolution.

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Introduction to policy debate l.jpg

Introduction to Policy Debate

Welcome to the

Dark Side of the Force


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Breaking Down the Resolution

  • Resolved: the United States federal government (USFG) should substantially decrease its military and/or police presence in one or more of the following: South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey.

  • Agent/actor—USFG

  • Direction—decrease

  • Policy directive or means—military and/or police presence

  • Limiters—South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey


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What is the USFG?

Congress

--Congress is the legislative branch of government. Its primary job is to pass laws.

--This is the normal means of creating policy

The Courts

--Primarily, the courts (especially the Supreme Court) determine if laws are Constitutional

--Debaters may change policy by altering Court actions

Executive Branch

--Consists of the President AND the Cabinet AND the many

government agencies run by the various Departments

--Policy may be enacted by the Executive Branch through an Executive Order or by action of any of the Departments or agencies


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What are the key issues?

  • South Korea

    --sex trafficking

    --rape/women’s rights

    --North Korea provocation

  • Japan

    --Okinawa

    --US/Japan relations

    --BMD

    --Pollution

    --Rape/Crime

    --Chinese modernization

  • Turkey

    --Tactical nuclear weapons

    --Kurd genocide

    --Iraq stability

    --US/Turkey relations

    --Iran proliferation

  • Afghanistan

    --Counterinsurgency = instability

    --Opium

    --Drones

    --Structural Violence

  • Iraq

    --Drones

  • Kuwait

    --Terrorism

    --Iran relations

  • Other Issues

    --PMCs

    --Feminism

    --NATO

    --Securitization

    --US relations w/…


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Presumption

  • The idea of presumption in debate is based on the US legal system. The accused is presumed innocent unless the prosecution can provide evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Likewise, the status quo (present system) is presumed to be adequate unless the affirmative can prove there is a compelling reason for change. Hence, the affirmative has the burden of proof in the debate round.


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Overcoming Presumption

  • To overcome presumption and fulfill the burden of proof, the affirmative must present a prima facie case.

  • A prima facie case is one which proves each of the stock issues.

  • Policy debate is, essentially, a problem-solving process in the context of the resolution. Affirmatives analyze a problem suggested by the resolution and provide a solution (plan) for the problem.


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Stock Issues

  • Significance/Harms—Is there a need for a change?

    The affirmative must prove that present policies are harmful.

  • Inherency—Can the status quo solve the problem?

    The affirmative must prove that the cannot or will not be solved in the present system. Generally, you must prove that there is some barrier that prevents the status quo from solving the problem.

  • Solvency

    The affirmative must provide a solution to the problem (the plan). Solvency provides evidence that the plan will actually solve the problem.

  • Topicality

    Although not stated explicitly in the affirmative case, the affirmative must fall completely within the scope of the resolution (must meet all terms in the resolution).


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CX Debate Structure

  • 8 minutes—1st Affirmative Constructive (1AC)

  • 3 minutes—CX of 1AC by 2NC

  • 8 minutes—1st Negative Constructive (1NC)

  • 3 minutes—CX of 1NC by 1AC

  • 8 minutes—2nd Affirmative Constructive(2AC)

  • 3 minutes—CX of 2AC by 1NC

  • 8 minutes—2ndNegative Constructive (2NC)

  • 3 minutes—CX of 2NC by 2AC Negative Block

  • 5 minutes—1stNegative Rebuttal (1NR)

  • 5 minutes—1st Affirmative Rebuttal (1AR)

  • 5 minutes—2nd Negative Rebuttal (2NR)

  • 5 minutes—2nd Affirmative Rebuttal (2AR)


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Maximizing Prep Time

  • Each team is allotted 8 minutes of cumulative prep time. (I.E, using 6 minutes to prepare for the 1NC would leave the team only 2 minutes for the rest of the round.)

  • Using time effectively can add several minutes to each team’s actual prep time.

    --The partner of the next speaker should conduct cross-examination. This provides 3 extra minutes of prep—off the clock.

    --The 1NR should never need to use precious prep time minutes. Since issues should be divided between the two negative speakers for the block, the 1NR can use the entirety of the 2NC time as well as the 3 minutes of CX following to prep (a total of 11 minutes to prep the speech).


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Affirmative Case

Multiple structures used in contemporary CX

--Traditional Needs

--Comparative Advantage

  • Most cases today are hybrids that combine these structures

  • No matter what format, ALL stock issues must still be proven to meet the prima facie burden.


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The Plan

  • Plan (or proposed solution to the problem) has become the focus of most contemporary debate argumentation

  • Current practice in most rounds is to present just the basic mandates of the plan with implementation through “normal means.” HOWEVER, each team must be able to defend ALL aspects of the plan.

  • Parts of the plan include:

    --Mandates—the policy proposed by the affirmative

    --Administration—an agency or administrative procedures that will oversee the implementation and functioning of the mandates

    --Funding—explains where any money necessary for the plan will come from

    --Enforcement—explains how violations of the plan will be dealt with


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What is “Normal Means”?

  • Normal means assumes the standard legislative process.

    --Congress approves the legislation, allocates funding and establishes administrative and enforcement procedures

    --President signs the legislation into law

    --The Courts interpret the Constitutionality of the law

  • Any team that claims to use “normal means” is stuck with the legislative process. Any later claims of going through the Executive Branch or the Courts in order to get out of arguments is a shift of advocacy and abusive (and should be argued as such).


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Negative Tools of the Trade

  • Topicality—claims the affirmative violates one or more terms of the resolution

  • Disadvantage—claims that the affirmative plan will cause bad things to happen

  • Counterplan—provides a competitive alternative to the affirmative plan

  • Kritik (or Critique)—attacks the philosophical assumptions of the affirmative case

  • Solvency—claims that the plan cannot solve for the advantages claimed

  • Straight Refutation—line-by-line attack on case


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Topicality

  • A. Definition--read a definition which you can argue that the affirmative doesn’t meet 

  • B. Violation--explain why the affirmative doesn’t meet the definition 

  • C. Standards--how we should evaluate competing interpretations (What is the best means of looking at the topic?)

    Some standards include:

    --contextual (how experts in the field interpret the meaning of the word)

    --limits (because the negative has limited prep time and can’t possibly prepare for every conceivable case, the interpretation which most limits the topic is the best interpretation)

    --predictability (again, neg can’t prepare for everything, so the most predictable interpretation is the best to promote fairness and education in the round)

    --brightline (draws a clear distinction between affirmative and negative ground

    --ground (fairly divides affirmative and negative ground)

  • D. Voters (Impact)--gives reasons why the judge should vote on topicality

    Common voters:

    --jurisdiction (the judge may only vote for affirmatives which fulfill the mandates of the topic; anything else is outside the judge’s jurisdiction)

    --fairness (both teams should have an equal opportunity to win the round)

    --education (an unpredictable affirmative that the neg has no answers for does nothing to make debate an educational experience; learning 1 issue in-depth is far more educational than learning 1 minor fact about 10 issues)


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Answering Topicality

  • 1. “We Meet”

    --explain why the affirmative actually meets the negative definition (try to give at least one or two reasons why the affirmative meets the negative’s definition)

  • 2. Counter-definition

    --read your own definition of the term in question (make sure you actually meet the definition)

    --explain why your case meets this new interpretation

  • 3. Counter-standard

    --present a standard more appropriate for the affirmative

    Example:

    Reasonability—the affirmative’s only responsibility is to be reasonable in its interpretation of the resolution; I.E., Would a reasonable person accept the affirmative’s interpretation of the topic?

    --explain why the affirmative meets the counter-standard

  • 4. Topicality is not a voting issue

    --explain why the judge should not vote on topicality (example: no in-round abuse or literature checks abuse)

  • 5. Answer the negative arguments line-by-line

    Example:

    --general definitions are better than contextual because they are more widely understood; general definitions make the debate more predictable

    --limits are bad because the negative over-limits the topic; over-limiting decreases education; violates the affirmative right to interpret the resolution, etc.


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Other Topicality Issues

  • Effects topicality--an affirmative is effects topical if the plan does not directly implement the resolution. In other words, the plan sets events in motion which eventually lead to a policy which incorporates the resolution. The negative stance on this issue is that topicality must be the first issue decided. A case which is effects topical must prove solvency before topicality can be proven, but solvency becomes irrelevant if topicality is decided first.

  • Extratopicality--extratopical advantages go beyond what is required by the resolution. For instance, an advantage which claims to solve the national deficit as a result of money left over from the plan funding would be extratopical because the funding mechanism does not implement the resolution.


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Disadvantages

  • A. Uniqueness

    --explains why impacts are unique to the affirmative plan; the system is okay right now [which means that the affirmative plan is what causes the bad things or impacts to happen]

  • B. Link

    --what action the affirmative plan takes which causes the impacts to happen

      Example:

    --affirmative passes environmental regulations and environmental regs are expensive for businesses to implement them, decrease profits, increase inflation, etc., which destroy business confidence or damage the economy

  • C. Impact

    --the bad things which will occur as a result of implementing the plan

    Example:

      --plan destroys the US economy; US economy keeps world economy afloat; global depression will result in World War


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Answering Disadvantages

  • 1. Non-unique--proves the affirmative is not responsible for the impacts 

    Examples:

    --economy is cyclical in nature, it goes up and down all the time; therefore impacts should have already happened; aff isn’t responsible

    --other factors affect the economy

    --impact will happen in the status quo with or without the plan

  • 2. No link--proves that the affirmative doesn’t connect to the impacts; aff action is not responsible for the chain of events

  • 3. Turn--shows how the affirmative actually solves for the impacts of the disadvantage or that the status quo is actually responsible

  • 4. No impact--explains why impacts won’t actually happen; why they should have already happen if the neg is correct or that the impacts won’t be as bad as the neg claims

  • 5. Case outweighs --explains why solving for case harms is more important or why the advantages outweigh the impacts of the disadvantage


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Counterplan Structure

  • 1. Counterplan text.

    Just as the affirmative has plan text in their case, the negative CP must also have plan text which states precisely the action of the counterplan.

  • 2. CP is nontopical (if applicable).

    Explains how the counterplan violates one or more terms of the resolution.

  • 3. CP is competitive.

    Explains why the judge is forced to make a choice between the plan and the counterplan. 

  • 4. CP is net beneficial.

    Explains why the counterplan is a better policy option than the affirmative plan. This will usually be an explanation of how the affirmative gets disadvantages that the counterplan avoids. 

  • 5. CP solvency.

    Just as the affirmative must provide evidence to prove that plan will solve the problems addressed, the counterplan must also have solvency evidence to prove that the CP mechanisms will solve the problem.


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Counterplan Theory 1

Beyond the traditional theoretical requirements of a counterplan (nontopical, competitive, net beneficial), there are a number of debate theory implications related to counterplans:

  • The status of the counterplan. [This should be the first question the affirmative asks about the counterplan during CX.] Depending on the degree of advocacy by the negative, the counterplan may be presented as:

    a. unconditional—the negative is committed to this policy position throughout

    the debate. The negative cannot revert to the status quo.

    b. dispositional—the negative may kick out of advocacy of the counterplan if

    the affirmative presents theoretical objections (perm or competitiveness), but

    cannot kick out of the counterplan if it is turned.

    c. conditional—negative has the option of jettisoning the counterplan at any

    point in the round. They do not have to advocate a conditional counterplan.

  • You will need theory briefs on why dispositional and conditional counterplans are bad and why they are good.


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Counterplan Theory 2

  • Counterplantopicality. Traditionally, counterplans are nontopical alternatives to the affirmative plan. However, current trends in debate allow for counterplans to be topical as long as they are competitive and net beneficial.

  • The reasoning behind this is that debate is inherently biased toward the affirmative since they have an infinite amount of time to prepare their affirmative arguments. The affirmative does not defend the entirety of the resolution; they pick an example of the resolution. Hence, the focus of the debate is the plan and not the resolution. Once the affirmative presents their advocacy (plan), they must be prepared to defend all aspects of the plan.

  • This theory allows counterplans which include all or part of the affirmative plan. This is called a plan-inclusive counterplan or PIC. You will need theory briefs on why PICs are good and why they are bad.


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Counterplan Theory 3

  • Permutations (or perms). 

    The permutation is an affirmative answer to the counterplan. It is intended to be a test of competitiveness. A perm argues that if you can do all of the plan and all or part of the counterplan at the same time, then the counterplan is not competitive (i.e., it does not force a choice and is, thus, not a reason to vote against plan).

    There are several types of perms:

    a. Pure permutation: advocates all of plan and all or part of the counterplan.

      b. Timeframe permutation: advocates doing one or the other first.

      c. Severance permutation: does not include all of plan (i.e., leaves a word or action out). This

    type of perm is sometimes used to prove that the counterplan is abusive to the affirmative.

      d. Intrinsic permutation: makes an addition to plan. Intrinsic perms add something that does

    not exist in either the plan or the counterplan (i.e., do plan and counterplanand have US and

    Japan act cooperatively in response to a Japan counterplan).

  • You will need briefs on why each of these types of permutations is or is not legitimate.


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Kritiks (or Critiques)

  • The kritik is an advanced negative strategy based on a type of philosophical thought originated by German philosophers (thus, the German spelling). Kritiks attack the philosophical assumptions of the affirmative case and usually argue that we need to rethink our approach to specific ideas, language, or actions

  • It is important to note that a kritik asks the judge to change the way he/she views the round. It sets the stage to examine the debate from different world views or means of evaluating the round. Normally, a team that runs a kritik will not run a counterplan (especially a plan-inclusive counterplan) at the same time. To do so would risk contradicting the philosophy, worldview or the mindset established in the kritik. This is a unique kind of contradiction called a performative contradiction.

  • This type of argument is theoretical in nature and not accepted as legitimate argumentation by many more traditional judges. You should usually ask the judge’s philosophy about critical arguments before the round begins.


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Kritik Structure

  • 1. Link—what the opposition does that is objectionable.

    This could be:

    --use of objectionable language

    --use of arguments based on incorrect assumptions

    --use of arguments which entrench objectionable thought

  • 2. Implication—explains why the action is objectionable (should include evidence and analysis).

      This is, essentially, the impact of the kritik.

  • 3. Alternative—how we should act or think in order to avoid the implications of the kritik.

      a. Alternative may be in the form of a counterplan, different mindset, or a specific action or inaction.

    b. Not all kritiks have alternatives; some just question.

      (This type of kritik is considered to be nihilistic. It sets up an endless regression of argument deconstruction. We question our assumptions, then question the answers until, ultimately, there is nothing left to believe in.)


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Types of Kritiks

  • 1. Thinking—challenge the way participants construct or systemize reasoning

      These kritiks may challenge things like rational thought or world view. For example, the normativitykritik argues that we are taught to see things through an instilled normative thought process. We are unaware of how it affects our way of thinking, yet this pattern of thinking determines how we view the world and prevents us from looking outside of the box for solutions to critical issues.

  • 2. Rhetoric and/or language—attacks the opponent for using words or language in a harmful way

      Examples:

      Gender language kritiks argue that using sexist language (human, mankind, etc.) entrenches or reinforces a dangerous patriarchical mindset.

      The nuclearismkritik argues that talking about nuclear war scenarios desensitizes part of our culture to the horrors of nuclear war and thus makes such a war more likely.

  • 3. Values—identifies and attacks ethical or moral beliefs behind what debaters say or do.

      Example:

      The statismkritik argues that the framework of the “state” is by its very nature oppressive and that any action taken by the state entrenches oppression. (The alternative to this kritik is anarchy.)


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Answering Kritiks

1. No link--Explain why the actions or mindset of the plan do not link to the kritik. 

2. Permute—Advocated doing both the plan and kritik.We can think about “x” then do plan if the Kritik is not a reason to

reject the affirmative. 

3. Turn-- Plan is a step in the direction of the kritik.

Plan serves as a springboard for the kritik because it focuses attention on the kritik issues. 

4. Counter-kritik.

Kritik is infinitely regressive. It only deconstructs ideas and ignores real world issues. Instead, we should adopt an alternative mindset advocated by the affirmative.

  --pragmatism vs. critical

  --deontology vs. consequentialism

  --capitalism vs. communism

5. Performative contradiction--Negative advocates an action, mindset, or language that violates their own kritik. 

Examples:

  Negative runs a nuclearismkritik (arguing that discussing scenarios for nuclear war desensitizes us to the real horrors of nuclear war, making the unthinkable doable) and then runs a disadvantage with a nuclear war impact.

  OR

Negative indicts the affirmative mindset and then runs a plan-inclusive counterplan.

6. Direct refutation of kritik philosophy.


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